Every Christmas since finishing school my Mum has given me a new diary for the upcoming year. It has become a bit of a tradition, and every year there will be a diary wrapped up and placed under the Christmas tree for me. Ever since I began my VCE studies I used the free school diary that I received at the start of the school year to plan what study I needed to do.
Since leaving school and entering tertiary studies, I have continued to use a diary for the same reason. I am one of those strange people that like to have every aspect of my life planned out. So I also use my diary to write in work hours, social commitments and appointments. I need to know the ‘three w’s’ of everything: when, what and where. My friends and family often joke and call my diary ‘my bible’ as I abide by it like a religion.
I realise these characteristics are not what the usual university student possesses and I am not encouraging you to go to this extreme, but using a diary can be extremely helpful for any student. Therefore, I thought I would share a few tips and advantages of using a diary.
Enter your course descriptions. When course descriptions are released at the start of the year I go through each unit and put in my diary when the assignments are due and when tests or exams are to take place. This has helped me so much in the past as I can look forward and see what is due and when so I can be prepared. Being prepared is especially important when EVERYTHING IS DUE AT ONCE! I don’t think any of my friends and family even consider associating with me at this time of the semester and I usually erupt like a volcano. However, I find that using a diary can really help to avoid the last minute ‘all-nighter’ that you often hear your peers talk about. Writing all the assessment tasks into your diary also avoids the awkward moment when one of your peers starts talking about a certain assessment that they are working on or have handed in (as it is due at 4pm that day) and you sit there thinking “I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about”. As hilarious it is for your friend, it isn’t so funny when you have to explain why you want an extension on the task.
Mark the task off. Once the assignment or exam is over, I mark it off with a highlighter so I don’t have to think about it again. I find doing it this way really brings my attention to the things that haven’t been highlighted so I know what still needs to be done in the week. By the end of the week I aim to have everything highlighted so I don’t start the next week behind the eight ball.
It’s portable. A huge pro of using a diary is that you can take it absolutely anywhere as it is small enough to take in your bag.
It compensates for a less-than-stellar memory (like mine). I swear I have the memory of a goldfish. Often things go in one ear and out the other when it comes to aspects of my life (such as appointment times). I find that if I write it in my diary I’ll always be reminded of it when I open it up, making it nearly impossible to forget. Note I said ‘nearly’. There is an expectation to the rule in this tip!
If carting a diary around isn’t for you, or you don’t think you need quite as much of the time management as the diary offers, a calendar may be better. Using a calendar isn’t something that I did until I realised I had a fair bit on over the months before Uni went back. To avoid certain things clashing, I wrote everything out on a calendar so it was all laid out in front of me. This can be easily used the same way as I have outlined above with a diary.
So if you struggle to prioritise your time or find it hard to meet the deadline with your assignments, why not give using a diary or a calendar a go? If you missed getting your free university diary in O-week, maybe invest in one. It’s far more cost-effective than repeating the subject again next year!